City hall park

September 19th 2016

"The documentation of cultural heritage in areas affected by conflict or natural disasters, including through the use of new digital technologies, is a critical step to preserve the memory of our past and mitigate the risk of possible damage or loss of precious cultural assets. Initiatives such as the Million Image Database project by the Institute for Digital Archaeology, which is based on the support of numerous volunteers on the ground, also testify to the importance attributed to their cultural heritage by local communities."

Francesco Bandarin, Assistant Director-General for Culture, UNESCO

"New York, you are ancient Egypt! But an Egypt turned inside out. For she erected pyramids of slavery, and you erect pyramids of democracy with the vertical organ-pipes of your skyscrapers all meeting at the point of infinity of liberty!" 

- Salvador Dalí

There are few cities in the world as much defined by their architecture as New York.  The Empire State Building, the Statue of Liberty, the Brooklyn Bridge -- all symbols of the audacity, strength, technical prowess, diversity and optimism of what Ezra Pound called "the most beautiful city in the world."  It is also a city that has known terrible loss -- first and foremost the loss of life, but also the loss of familiar landmarks that helped inform the city's identity.   The Triumphal Arch, a symbol of resilience in the face of loss, will be a fitting tribute to America's great metropolis.  The arch will stand in City Hall Park, surrounded by buildings adorned with classical features suggesting the common cultural roots of East and West. We hope that you will visit us this fall to consider the relationship between people and the places they inhabit. 

"Boris Johnson, Mayor of London, recently said in connection with our reconstruction in Trafalgar Square of Palmyra’s Triumphal Arch that archaeologists have a duty to help rebuild the lost monuments of the Middle East.  I agree wholeheartedly with the Mayor – but would go even further.  Anyone who appreciates the art and architecture that beautifies the great cities of Europe and North America, who appreciates the science and technology that improves our lives or who enjoys the freedoms of representative democracy has a duty to help restore these lost sites.  For in them lies the story of a region in which our collective artistic, scientific and political traditions were born.  These monuments represent the shared history of humanity and stand for a rich and complex past that unites all people.  By rebuilding these structures, we rebuild not only our own national histories, but our connections to each other, as well."

- Roger Michel, Executive Director, IDA